Happy Holidays from the staff of RookieBlitz.com!
Our weekly feature will take a look at the Week 16 matchups and evaluate what players should see an increase or decrease in value in the Championship Game Week of the fantasy football playoffs.
Jerome Harrison – Cleveland Browns
The general consensus is that Head Coach Eric Mangini will continue to befuddle fantasy football owners with his tailback rotation with Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings. This comes one week after Harrison broke Jim Brown’s team rushing record with 34 carries for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns and added another 2 receptions for 12 yards for good measure. There is no doubt that Harrison has the talent to play in the NFL, he just have never gotten a consistent shot at playing time. Mangini won’t be a fool, he’ll continue to give Harrison the lion’s share of the carries and against the Raiders 28th ranked rush defense. Harrison should top 100 yards rushing on the day and have a great chance of scoring a touchdown, don’t hesitate and get him in your lineup this week.
Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals
We’ve been high on Beanie Wells all season and it’s time he started paying dividends on his crazy good playoff schedule. After a subpar team performance against Detroit, Coach Whisenhunt has indicated the Cardinals will play to win the final 2 games despite already clinching the NFC West. This is great news for Wells; he is an excellent high-end RB2 this week against the 27th ranked Rams rush defense (140.8 YPG). Brandon LaClair covered most of the basics on Wells earlier this week here; there is little doubt Wells will be vital to a lot of championships this weekend.
Welcome to the Week 15 playoff edition of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable!
Jason Sarney of Fantasy Phenoms is the Roundtable Host this week. Head on over to his great site to view our sleeper and bust picks to get you ready for your Week 15 playoff matchup.
In our weekly feature, RookieBlitz.com will take a look at the Week 14 matchups to see what players will see an increase or a decrease in value in the first week of the fantasy football playoffs.
Joe Flacco – Ravens
Joe Flacco looked like a rookie again with his poor showing against the Packers on Monday night. The Ravens ground game hasn’t been as dominate as it was in 2008, and there is a clear lacking of playmakers at wide receiver that have stunted Flacco’s growth after a fast start. The Detroit Lions own the league’s worst pass defense (allowing 274.8 yards per game) and they will be a cure all for what ails the Ravens passing attack. With the great matchup, Flacco makes a sneaky QB1 play if you also own gunslinger Jay Cutler as your other QB.
Jamaal Charles – Chiefs
Jamaal Charles has been a touchdown machine for the past 4 weeks, scoring in 4 straight games. Charles should be considered a strong RB2 option against the Bills league worst run defense. The wintry and cold conditions at Arrowhead will likely see Matt Cassel and Ryan Fitzpatrick throw a lot less and turn the game over to their young tailbacks. Charles is a good bet to score for a 5th consecutive week and top 100 yards rushing on the day.
Robert Meachem – Saints
Meachem has been another RookieBlitz.com favorite lately. He has scored at least one touchdown in 5 straight games and has emerged as the clear #2 receiver to Marques Colston for QB Drew Brees. The Falcons have not stopped anyone through the air all season, and that makes Meachem a great WR3 or Flex option again this week.
Michael Crabtree – 49ers
Crabtree has thrived lately in the San Francisco spread offense. He has been a good option in PPR leagues to this point, but this week should be Crabtree’s best game as a professional in his young career. The 49ers have begun throwing more frequently, and Crabtree could see a 2nd week in a row of double digit targets from QB Alex Smith (12 targets in Week 13). If you find yourself in a tough matchup, Crabtree could put in the type of performance that could help you pull off the upset in your fantasy league playoffs.
Garrett Hartley – Saints
Kickers don’t get much love here at RookieBlitz.com, but if you have a question mark at kicker going into the playoffs make sure to grab Hartley off the waiver wire. The Saints should roll up on the Falcons in Week 14 making him an excellent plug and play this week. The Saints have an easy schedule for the remainder of the year, and Hartley could be the difference each week you need to win your league.
Jay Cutler – Bears
Jay Cutler has to be looking at the game tape of Joe Flacco last Monday night against the Packers and dreading his Week 14 matchup with the stout Green Bay defense. Unless you are in a real pinch due to injuries, Cutler is not a recommended start this week. His ground game likely won’t get going, and his receivers will find it tough to get open against Charles Woodson and Nick Collins.
Marion Barber – Cowboys
Marion Barber has been a huge disappointment thus far in 2009, but certainly not one of the biggest busts at the running back position. The Cowboys have not have many redzone opportunities which have limited Barber’s greatest strength of punching in the short goal line carries. Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are keeping Barber fresh, but Barber will need to start finding the endzone before you can trust him as anything more than a flex option. Despite losing Jamal Williams for the season, the Chargers defense has been playing well. Barber should only be started in Week 14 if you have no other options.
Matt Forte – Bears
Matt Forte is easily the biggest bust at running back in 2009. Forte was a consensus top 5 pick, and even myself included thought he would build on his 2008 campaign with the new franchise QB Jay Cutler coming to town. If you are in the playoffs despite drafting Forte then I have to congratulate you on the success of the remainder of your draft. Forte will continue to disappoint you in Week 14 against the top ranked Packers defense.
Antonio Bryant – Buccaneers
Antonio Bryant faces a brutal matchup in Week 14 despite coming off a strong game against the Panthers (5 rec, 116 yards). The Jets and the best cover corner in the NFL Darrelle Revis come to town and it could get ugly for Bryant. Revis has shut down nearly every top flight WR he has faced in 2009, and Bryant will be no different. Unless you absolutely need to start him this week, I would highly advise that you find another option.
Welcome to the Week 14 Playoff Edition of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable hosted by RookieBlitz.com!
All season long, the experts of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable have given you weekly suggestions for your fantasy football lineup. The majority of fantasy football leagues begin their playoffs with Week 14, so it will be our focus to help you win your matchup this weekend and eventually your league championship game.
In the fantasy football playoffs, each lineup decision becomes even more important and could be the difference between going home early or advancing to the next round. Decisions will continue to get tougher as each team in the NFL will have a different agenda for their last few remaining games: Quitting early on the season and/or head coach, start young untested players to see a glimpse of their future, potential playoff teams fighting to the bitter end, playoff teams who have clinched playoff seeds who take a few weeks off so they don’t risk further injury, and finally those teams chasing perfection.
If you keep these things in mind, you’ll have an edge on your opponent and you won’t be surprised when your star receiver Reggie Wayne of the Colts only plays a handful of downs Week 16 in your championship game. If your league still allows for waiver wire pickups, check out our RookieBlitz.com suggested pickups for the playoffs at Running Back and Wide Receiver.
Don’t miss out on your chance to visit each website of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable listed below. Each member brings a unique perspective to our motley crew of experts, and best of all you can have instant access to them through Twitter. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you give everyone a follow to have your lineup and trade questions answered.
Without further adieu, the experts of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable present our Sleeper and Bust picks by position for Week 14.
Robert Meachem, Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
Robert Meachem has been one of the biggest fantasy football surprises of 2009. What shouldn’t be a surprise is that he has become a viable starting option as a WR3 or Flex player for your fantasy football team. All Meachem has done lately is make big plays for Drew Brees, and many fantasy football commissioners are still trying to figure out how to score his impressive return touchdown after stripping the ball from the Redskins defender. Meachem won’t crack the 1,000 yard receiving mark by the end of the season, but his 8 touchdowns are remarkable. He has come on strong lately with at least one touchdown in 5 straight games, and Atlanta’s 29th ranked pass defense will be no match for the Drew Brees to Robert Meachem connection.
Jamaal Charles, Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles has quieted all of his critics that said he couldn’t handle a full NFL workload following the departure of featured back Larry Johnson. Charles has always been known as a speedster, but he has shown incredible patience running behind the porous offensive line of the Chiefs. Charles has shown a nose for the end zone with a touchdown in each of his last 4 games and now draws the worst run defense in the NFL in Week 14. The Buffalo Bills are allowing 172.1 yards per game on the ground and Charles will be an excellent option in the first round of the fantasy football playoffs. Don’t sleep on Charles anymore; he has emerged as a solid RB2 option.
Vince Young, Quarterback – Tennessee Titans
Vince Young has the Titans playing inspired football and brought the team back into contention for a wild card spot after they were left for dead at 0-6. Young and the Titans came up just short to the Colts last week, but Young had another solid fantasy day and now has 628 passing yards in his last 2 games. Young has found a new favorite receiver in rookie Kenny Britt to go with his old standby at tight end in Bo Scaife. The St. Louis Rams are playing better against the pass lately and now rank 16th in the league but their main focus will be stopping Chris Johnson this week with their 28th ranked run defense. Young will be a sneaky play in the first week of the playoffs because of the attention that Johnson will receive and could top 300 total yards and multiple touchdowns. Young doesn’t run as much as his prior incarnation as a starting NFL Quarterback, but the Rams are allowing 3.94 yards per carry and have surrendered two running touchdowns to opposing QB’s. If your current starter has a tough matchup (Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, or Kyle Orton) you can start Young with confidence against the Rams.
Antonio Bryant, Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bryant has started his annual late-season surge, being targeted a season-high 11 times this past week, catching five passes for 116 yards. He is now averaging 103.5 yard receiving in his past two games. This week though faces the number one pass defense in the league, the New York Jets. Jets only allowing 167 passing yards a game in 2009, and boast the top shutdown corner in the league in Darrelle Revis. Bryant has some decent matchups going forward, with Seattle, New Orleans, and Atlanta to end the season. This week though is not one of those good matchups.
Frank Gore, Running Back – San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have officially transitioned to a spread-style of offense, throwing the ball on 21 of their first 24 plays this past week against the Seahawks. Gore had averaged 160 total yards against Seattle in his past seven games, but only received 9 carries in Week 13. He now has 32 carries in the past three weeks, while San Francisco is dead last in the NFL averaging 21 rushing attempts a game. Gore is able to pick up some of the fantasy slack in the passing game, as he averaging six receptions a game in the past two games, and is the top targeted running back in the past six weeks. Arizona the fourth best defense in allowing only 94.8 yards rushing a game on the road, and is coming off of a week which saw them hold Adrian Peterson to 19 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Jay Cutler, Quarterback – Chicago Bears
Facing one of the hottest defenses going, Cutler will probably be without Orlando Pace, and his best receiver Devin Hester is hobbled with a calf injury. Without a clear-cut no. 1 receiver to have to focus on, expect Charles Woodson to cut loose all over the field. 2009 1st round pick Clay Matthews is starting to come into his own, sacking Joe Flacco twice on Monday Night Football. Matthews has 3 sacks in the past two weeks, and a team-high seven on the season. Cutler looks shell-shocked, not throwing for over 150 yards in each of the past two weeks, and his 20 interceptions are tied with Matthew Stafford for worst in the NFL. Green Bay the 4th best pass defense on the road, allowing 187.2 passing yards per game.
Sleeper: Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has had a rough go at it in his sophomore year and last week on Monday night, he threw three very hurtful interceptions (two on back-to-back offensive plays) which sunk the Ravens to 6-6 and jeopardized their playoff chances. However this week, Flacco has the ultimate chance to redeem himself against Detroit and their woeful pass defense. The Lions rank dead last in the league in both pass yards allowed and average QB rating. That’s not where it ends. They also are tied for 31st in interceptions and have given up the most touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks. At a time when Flacco has been anything but a solid start, he will provide owners with a great stat line this coming weekend and likely propel many owners to their playoffs if they’re not already there.
Bust: Eli Manning – New York Giants
Eli hasn’t quite been the top quarterback that he was at the beginning of the season, but he is still ranked just outside of the top 10 in QB rating and passing yards. However, this week he is going up against Philadelphia and I think we all know how bad they can make a quarterback look. They are one of just four teams that have over 20 interceptions this season and on top of that, they are holding opposing gunslingers to an average QB rating of just 72.5. I know many owners may only be using Eli as an emergency backup right now as playoffs roll around, but with several QBs around the league injured, I also know of many owners who only have Eli to rely on. Unfortunately, Eli has a tough matchup this week and will not do much for GMs in week 14.
Sleeper: Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
The new interim Head Coach Perry Fewell in Buffalo has named Jackson the starter and it was evidenced last week when Jackson saw 16 touches to Marshawn Lynch’s 7. Lynch did have more yards and even scored a touchdown, although that touchdown was because of some poor tackling by the Jets. This week Jackson will make much better use of his increased touches against a Kansas City defense that has given up 8 TDs and an average of 187 yards a game to opposing RBs over the last 5 games.
Bust: LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
Last week McCoy was expected to have a decent game against a Falcons defense that had given up 9 touchdowns to opposing running backs over their last 5 games, especially with Brian Westbrook still being out. Of course as we know now, that is not how it worked out. McCoy touched the ball a total of 9 times for a grand total of 26 yards. Eldra Buckley and Leonard Weaver both had more yards from scrimmage than McCoy did and Buckley had more carries. This week he faces a Giants team that is allowing an average of 71 yards per game over the last 5 and has only allowed 3 touchdowns to running backs over that same span.
Sleeper: Kevin Walter – Houston Texans
Seattle’s pass defense has been non-existent as of late. Matt Schaub’s injury is a bit disconcerting, but he seemed to play ok when he came back into the game. Football Outsiders rank Seattle 31st against #2 wide receivers. He isn’t going to all of the sudden turn into an every week start, but this matchup is too good to pass up.
Bust: Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers
Jackson started the season incredibly hot, but it’s been 6 weeks since he’s topped 60 yards receiving and 5 weeks since he’s found the end zone. It seems like just a matter of time before VJax breaks out again, but traveling to Dallas isn’t the best place to do that. Dallas has been tough on #1 receivers. Since week 7 the Cowboys haven’t given up over 11 fantasy points to any receiver. They have only given up 100 yards to a receiver 3 times this year and two of those came against the Giants in week 2! Since then they have improved tremendously. Add Jackson’s slump to the Cowboys’ resurgence against #1′s and you have another down game.
Sleeper: Kevin Boss – N.Y. Giants
No team has allowed more receptions by opposing tight ends than the Eagles. No team has yielded as many receiving yards to opposing tight ends as the Eagles. More than a third of the touchdown passes Philadelphia has allowed all season (seven of 18) have gone to tight ends, including one to Boss in the first meeting. For what it’s worth, even Boss’ season highs in receptions and yardage in 2008 each came against the Eagles. His three catches, 70 yards and one touchdown back in Week 8 of this year could have easily turned into a bigger game, as Boss ranked second on the team with nine targets, more than in any other contest this year. Just for good measure, the Giants’ tight end did add three more touchdown catches in the two games following that first clash with the Eagles. Tougher matchups and a mere five targets limited Boss in the past two weeks, but there’s little doubt that he’ll need to be significantly involved for the Giants to beat a team that’s tough against the run and strong at corner.
Bust: Jeremy Shockey – New Orleans Saints
Even though the Saints have proven their offense likes to run the ball, we all know the team brings into every game some explosive air-strike ability. Shockey just hasn’t been flying as often lately. Over the past four games, he has actually drawn fewer targets than fellow tight end David Thomas. The only one of those contests in which Shockey saw more chances than Thomas was the near-loss at Washington last week, when New Orleans played from behind the whole day and Drew Brees put up a season-high 43 passes. In those other three outings over the past four weeks, Brees attempted fewer than 30 passes each time as his team won by double digits twice and surprisingly closely over the Rams. Unless Michael Turner and Matt Ryan drink some magic elixir before the weekend, Atlanta has approximately no shot at making Sunday’s rematch close. That should mean another day of 26-28 attempts for Brees and another day on which Shockey doesn’t catch a ton of balls. In four of the past five games, he has grabbed three or fewer. The other (last week) produced four receptions. To me, that translates to very limited upside.
Sleeper: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Although the Bills are not a good football team overall, they happen to have a top-5 pass defense. They are tied with the Packers for an NFL-high 21 interceptions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they added a couple more this weekend. Kansas City is atrocious in terms of passing, and Matt Cassel isn’t scaring anyone. However, their rushing defense is the worst in the league, so Jamaal Charles could do some damage. This unit has a solid chance of a pick-6, or even a Special Teams TD so roll the dice if you are desperate.
Bust: Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings
On paper, these two defenses are lights-out against the run. Too bad the Bengals have to face Adrian Peterson, and the Vikings have to face Cedric Benson. Not to mention Brett Favre and Carson Palmer. Look for a relative shoot-out here, and neither units are ones to trust.
Jim Day (@FantasyTaz) of Fantasy Football Whiz is the host of our Week 12 edition of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable. Check out what our panel of fantasy football experts have to say about who you should start and sit in Week 12.
Head on over to Jim’s great site and check out their great weekly articles to give you the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league.